Why Does Swine Flu Kill Healthy People?
While the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA (CDC) is still reporting 20 cases of the new Swine Flu in the U.S., there is some question as to whether they are merely behind the facts, or actually concealing the truth because the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland says that there are actually 40 confirmed cases in the U.S.
One major question many people have which isn't being answered by the government reports or the mainstream media is just why the Swine Flu may be killing the healthiest individuals rather than the weak and elderly.
The same thing occurs with Bird Flu (H5N1) and is due to the fact that both the new Swine Flu and the relatively new Bird Flu strains are just that - NEW.
People have no defenses built up and when infected the body's own defensive systems are triggered to a powerful extent.
Babies and older adults have weak immune systems which is why they are vulnerable to complications from the usual yearly flu - they tend to get pneumonia and other opportunistic infections after being weakened further by the yearly flu, but don't have systems which really react strongly to the flu itself either because they are young and have weak immune systems or are older and have many past flu infections to strengthen the specific immunity factors which are the same for many flu strains.
What happens with young and healthy patients is that their immune systems react so strongly that they can triggers something known as a "cytokine storm".
When this happens the person's immune system overreacts to the totally new flu virus and actually attacks the body's healthy organs and systems - that makes the healthy approximately 15 to 60 year old individual the most likely to actually succumb to the flu.
Because this cytokine storm phenomena is generally rare it is also not well understood. Cytokines are similar to hormones and are used by the body to communicate between cells, mostly on a local basis.
A cytokine storm can overwhelm the nervous system and cause breathing problems which is why hospitals put critical flu patients on assisted breathing machines.
The fact that most hospitals only have a few of these and they are often in use for surgical or other critical patients is what really frightens experts in the pandemic field.
Even in advanced countries with a strong hospital system, there is simply no way to provide interim support for tens of thousands of pandemic flu victims - the equipment just doesn't exist to put them all on breathing machines until their bodies are able to recover naturally.
In addition to decades as a science reporter, John A. McCormick has worked for years as a local emergency management coordinator (now retired) and has advised facilities and municipalities on preparations for a flu pandemic.
He also maintains http://newmedicineonline.com/, a medical information Web site certified by HON, Healthcare on the Net (an NGO affiliate of the WHO in Geneva) as providing unbiased and accurate medical information.
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HON https://www.hon.ch/ was developed to provide assurance of the quality of online medical information given by independent sources.
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John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.
See also this useful information from Annie B at care2.com: Kill flu germs inside and out
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